This Unheard-Of City In Spain Is The Top Destination For Expats Worldwide
Move aside, Barcelona. A lesser-known city in Spain many visitors are not even aware exists has peaked at number one on this year’s Expat City Ranking, published by the Expat Insider. In general, foreign residents have praised how easy it is to settle in and the excellent quality of life, with over 85% of them feeling ‘happy’ about the move.
Proving migration trends have reversed, a record number of Americans are leaving the U.S. in recent years as the political situation deteriorates and inflation takes its heavy toll on families. One of the most stable and peaceful regions with a high human development index, Europe remains the go-to destination for many.
In particular, this one hidden gem on the sunny coast of Spain:
Valencia Is The Top Rated City For Expats This Year
Out of 50 popular destinations worldwide, Valencia was named the top city for migrants in 2022. With a surprisingly high ‘happiness level’, higher than any other metropolis in Spain, including the economic powerhouse duo Madrid and Barcelona, the Expat Insider report confirms the vast majority of foreigners, including Americans, feel right at home here.
This is rather unusual, seeing that Valencia is a big city home to over 1.6 million people, and large urban centers tend to scare expats away, but it seems not all of them are looking for some peace and quiet. Valencia is a 2022 highlight not only in the overall ranking but numerous other subcategories, including the Quality of Life Index.
Migrants strongly approve of the city’s infrastructure, especially when it comes to Travel & Transit, where it ranks 3rd for affordability and efficacy. 85% of residents consider public transportation ‘affordable’, compared to the worldwide mean value of 70%. It excels again in the ‘Ease of Settling In Index’, perhaps one of the most relevant:
In total, 74% of expats feel welcome in the area versus 62% globally; in this respect, only the digital nomad hub of Mexico City outperforms Valencia (82%). Additionally, 85% perceive Valencians as very friendly, and 72% are ‘happy with their social life’, against worldwide averages of 66% and 56%, respectively.
Valencia Is More Affordable Than Other Cities In Spain
When it comes to the cost of living, it charts at number 1, with 83% rating it positively. Other domestic competitors like Barcelona and Madrid saw rates of 54% and 69%, respectively. To an extent, Valencia enters at number three in the Personal Finance Index: 67% of respondents are happy financially (versus 60% in the global ranking).
A further 38% are ‘completely’ satisfied (worldwide, the figure is much lower at 22%). Finally, 92% of expats living in Valencia, irrespective of nationality, consider it a safe environment. Other relevant rankings include:
- Affordable Housing (1st)
- Affordable Healthcare (2nd)
- Health & Well-Being (4th)
- Easy Access to Medical Services (7th)
In spite of the laudable results – for the most part – Valencia has had a mixed reaction in the ‘Expat Essentials Index’, where it charts at a moderate number 13. Foreigners complain the most about bureaucracy, one of Europe’s biggest weaknesses (52% vs. 39% globally), and career prospects (30% hold an unfavorable view of the local market).
However, this number may be interpreted as an over-estimation, as Expat Insider editors reiterate only 8% of those surveyed have settled in Valencia for ‘work-related reasons’, resulting in a markedly different expat profile: ‘quality of life’ and a better retirement prospect are the ‘most popular reasons’ for migration.
If you’re a young digital nomad looking for a daily dose of sunshine and culture, chances are you’ll love Valencia as much as retirees do. As the third largest city in Spain, sitting on the Mediterranean coast, it has no shortage of attractions, from world-class museums to sandy beaches and a vibrant nightlife.
Yes, it is a modern trading port and one of Europe’s busiest at that, but that’s not to say it is not infused with History. In fact, Valencia was founded as a Roman colony back in 138 BC, and to this day, it houses one of Spain’s largest historic centers, rivaling that of Seville and Barcelona. In 2020, it was also awarded the title of ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism‘.
Some of the city’s main sights include the Cathedral of Valencia, the Palace of the Admiral of Aragon, featuring a well-preserved Gothic courtyard, the medieval Convento de Santo Domingo, and then other modern landmarks, such as the Opera House (Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia) and the Science Museum (Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe).
Top 10 Best & Worst Cities For Expats
The Top 10 Best & Worst Cities For Expats can be found below:
Top 10 Best
- Valencia, Spain
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Madrid, Spain
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Basel, Switzerland
- Melbourne, Australia
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Top 10 Worst
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- Paris, France
- Istanbul, Turkiye
- Hong Kong
- Hamburg, Germany
- Milan, Italy
- Vancouver, Canada
- Tokyo, Japan
- Rome, Italy